Episode 298

Why Your Trials Aren’t Converting with Mark Fisher

In this episode, Mark Fisher joins me to talk about why your trials aren’t converting.

[00:00:00] Hello, my friend, and happy new year. On today’s episode, I’m speaking with Mark Fisher, and we’re talking about why your trials aren’t converting. We know that almost nothing sucks more than getting a new person in your door to try you out for a low barrow, for a trial, for a week or two, and then they just don’t stick around.

They just don’t stick around and it sucks to invest it all that time and energy into that person and then not have them convert to membership. So today we’re going to give you our solution to that, which is our process for a really clear sales conversation. And if you stick around to the end of the podcast today, this end of this episode, I will give you access to our template for the best sales conversation to fix this problem.

So if that sounds useful, keep listening, my friend.

Welcome to the Business for Unicorns podcast, where we help gym owners unleash the full potential of their business. I’m your host, Michael Keeler. Join me each week for [00:01:00] actionable advice, expert insights, and the inside scoop on what it really takes to level up your gym. Get ready to unlock your potential.

And become a real unicorn in the fitness industry. Let’s begin.

Hello, fitness business nerds. What’s up? Welcome to another episode of the business for unicorns podcast. It’s a new year and I’m back with Mr. Fisher. Happy new year, my friend. Happy new year. How were your holidays? They were good. A lot of actual downtime. I took time off and I spent a lot of time playing with my baby.

Good for you. Good for you, my friend. We did the same thing. We just said no to all the plans and stayed home. And, uh, that’s the new plan moving forward is to not have any fucking plans. It’s nice. It’s nice. It’s also nice to take days off, which I’m sure readers will listen, read upcoming emails about some new distinctions I’ve had about time off.

All right. Before we dive in today and talk about why people’s trials are not converting, I want to just do a quick announcement. So if you’ve heard, if you listen to the podcast before that we have a unicorn [00:02:00] society retreat coming up in Austin, it is March 2nd and 3rd, and we open up just 10 spots for people who are not unicorn society members.

This retreat is going to be focused on marketing and sales and all attendees are going to learn how to create a steady stream of high quality leads. You’re going to learn how to convert those leads. You’re going to learn how to. Create more revenue month over month. We have a special guest superhero.

Jordan Sia is going to be joining us. It’s going to be a really epic retreat. And we only have, like I said, 10 spots for those of you who are not Unicorn Society members. And if you let us know, you want to come by January 14th, we have some special early bird pricing where it won’t be any cheaper ever again.

And so DM us on Instagram. For more information, and we hope to see you in Austin, Texas, it’s going to be a blast. Let’s dive into today’s topic, which is why your trials are not converting. This is about having an effective, hopefully short sales conversation with people who are in your trial. To get them to stick around after the trial.

[00:03:00] And this is a place where we see a lot of Unicorn Society members drop the ball. They don’t have an effective conversation or any at all. This is a ball we’ve dropped at MFF over the years. And when you get it wrong, it’s one of the most frustrating things you can experience as a gym owner and that people are coming to your door and you’re spending all this energy getting to know them.

And then they don’t stick around. And when you get it right, you really are at the start of creating a real marketing and sales machine that can grow your business. So let’s dive in Fisher. You want to say a little bit about what makes getting this sales conversation so important aside from what I already said.

Yeah, I don’t have much else to add. I think that was pretty, pretty clear. It’s, uh, not fun when you get the people in there, which is its own challenge to start with. And there’s just no way of moving them to take action. And I think the thing to understand is what you want is you want a non awkward. Non weird way of helping a person really understand what it is they want and link that with the value that you can create As a member and a client of your [00:04:00] gym because I think the other thing that we also don’t want that I think part of the resistance for a lot of people here is If you’ve never done this before, it can feel weird.

Most of us understand we don’t want to feel like a high pressure, cheesy, annoying, used car salesman. And in practice, that’s not what we’re trying to get you to do at all. In fact, it’s the opposite, right? We’re trying to help you support people and get clear on what they want and take action to move towards the life that they want, which incidentally is going to support your goals as a gym owner.

Yeah. 100%. And, and we’ve had experience getting this wrong at MFF for many years. Do you want to share a little bit about the years when we had low barrier offers, but then no conversion conversations? So what was that like for us, Fisher? Yeah. Here’s the thing, like the real talk, and I often have to concede that MFF is an exception that proves the rule.

We just got away with so many things we shouldn’t have for a number of reasons, a quirk of the time. And frankly, we just. service the hell out of the people that came in. So in practice, people were patient with us in spite of our [00:05:00] lack of real systems and standards around having this particular kind of conversation.

I wouldn’t recommend doing that because even for us at a certain point, it just stopped working. At a certain point, we realized that by not actually having conversations with individuals, Another thing to understand is we weren’t making it easy for them to take the next step. So unless you have some structure like this, particularly if you have more than a couple of memberships, which most people listening do, God forbid you have multiple services, which some people do, which is not always my recommendation, but we still do at MFF.

People will just get overwhelmed and not only that, but the other thing you’re going to have happen is if people do want to move forward, they’re going to make the decision entirely on price instead of what’s actually best for them and their goals and their situation. Yeah, that’s exactly it. And listen, we have a solution for this, unicorns.

I remember us get access to a full kind of strategy session, sales script template. And if you stick around to this end of the podcast, we’re going to tell you how you can also get access to one of our free tools for this, but we’re going to do in this. [00:06:00] Podcast is walk through kind of the seven components that we think should be part of the sales conversation.

As Mark mentioned, it doesn’t need to be high pressure. It, we just don’t want it to be awkward. We want it to be a supportive, friendly conversation where you can help your. Brand new clients are getting to know, get clear on their goals and help them connect with how you can best serve them. And so we think that this conversation really has seven core components.

Before we go through them, I just want to make one kind of pitch here is that we’re going to share these. And at the end of this podcast, you’ll have access to this full template. But the most important thing in making this conversation not awkward is that you or whoever on your team’s having these conversations has to fucking practice.

There has to be regular diligent role play or else, no matter how good this, the template is, no matter how good your sales scripts are, it’s not going to work because you’re going to look and sound and feel awkward. It’s got to feel natural. It’s got to be part. It’s going to put this in your own words so you can make it feel genuine and authentic.[00:07:00]

If not, you’re just going to rub people the wrong way, which is the exact opposite. Of the vibe we’re going for. Yeah. I’m sure you agree with that Fisher, but anything you would add. Yeah, I would say it’s interesting. I think even more so than rubbing people the wrong way, I’d be concerned about you’re just like nervous and awkward and just weird and you create a weird interaction and it’s interesting.

There is a lot of arguments that you can make for what the actual sales funnel is like, and it’s funny, Kira and I were having a good little chat earlier about it, we want to make some changes in what we’ve recommended the unicorn society. But one thing I can tell you, if you take nothing away from this is if you don’t have a structure and it’s not being rehearsed enough that you really feel in your body and doesn’t feel weird to you, that’s the very first place it starts.

We’re about to give you the structure, so that’s good. That’s the first part of it. But then it’s going to be up to you to actually take action and make sure that you’re getting enough reps in. And if you’re not a high volume gym and a lot of you listen, if you’re doing small groups, you might not be getting tons of reps at bat.

You’re going to need to find some way to role play. And again, if. Not to keep being annoying pitch guy here, but if you’re in the unicorn [00:08:00] side, you have a whole gaggle of people that will happily role play with you. But whether you do it with someone on your staff or find some way to practice, you don’t want to be getting out your practice reps on people that would be interested in otherwise spending money with you.

If you want a very crude recommendation, I would say run it at least 10 times and be pretty much off book. Before you’re doing it in front of people that would consider actually giving you their money. Otherwise, I promise you, you’re blowing opportunities to work with people that you could help and that could help support your Jim’s goals.

Well said my friend, let’s dive in. There’s seven parts of this conversation. Let’s see if we can get through them pretty quickly to give people a framework they can leave with and start playing with. So, uh, I’ll say what each one is and you can maybe give a few sentence description, Fisher. Part one here is before you even start the conversation is preparing for greatness.

So when you talk about part one, preparing for the conversation, what do we mean by that, Fisher? So this is what happens before the sales conversation. I think this is often underappreciated. A lot of people, when they think about this [00:09:00] type of conversation is, you got to get yourself ready. Now that’s going to look like.

Different things for different gyms. Again, DM us, we’ll give you our suggestions here. But usually it’s some combination of reviewing any notes or information you have in advance about the person, so that way you’re coming in prepared and you’re clearly expressing your care for this individual that you’ve taken time and effort to understand their situation.

Silly things, such as many of us do in person ones, which is you probably want to brush your teeth and make sure you don’t have shit in your teeth from the sandwich you just ate. You want to really manage your state. You need to physically do things, you need to do jumping jacks or something to get ready to go, right?

An example of this, for those of you that are doing any sort of phone sale, so cliche, but making sure you’re smiling when you get on the phone before you pick up the phone. If you’re like, Hey, hi. So, again, this could look like different things for different people, but the main thing here is you’re going to need a beat to get on into this.

Otherwise, you’re going to start flat footed. You’re not quite prepared for it. And the beginning is really matter. You’re setting the tone for the conversation. And [00:10:00] depending on where this is in your funnel, potentially the entire relationship by how you meet the person where they’re at, and that’s going to require some prep.

You can’t just roll into that. Yeah, for sure. Awesome. So let’s just say you’re prepared, you’re ready to go, you brushed your teeth, your Wi Fi’s working, whatever you need to do. Part two is making a friend. This is building rapport. So tell me a little bit about what happens in this first part of the conversation.

Yep. So in the very beginning, you’re really just doing Two things you’re making a friend. So there’s, it would be weird to not have some sort of banter. Now this can go too far, right? If, if you start playing the game, if you keep looking for all the things and you’re looking for some connections, you can be like, Oh my God, but ideally there wants to be some check in about.

And this is very crude, but it’s a real shoot the shit. How’s your day going? Another good thing that you can use as a segue question is, so how did you hear about such and such? Right? And that’s also helpful because as a marketer, you need to be tracking where the people are coming in from. Oftentimes it will be a client if you’re good at your services, and then you can gush about how awesome that client is.

And then the second [00:11:00] half of this is you tell them, here’s what’s going to happen. Because remember, some people are going to be nervous, right? So you really want to lay out. What is going to happen? And optimally, this has already been done before in some sort of pre strategy session, either email or conversation or somebody to give them a context of how long it’s going to be.

But it’s a good time to reiterate. Okay, here’s what’s going to happen. And for most of you, it’s going to be similar. You’re gonna explain or it’s going to be about this long. I’m gonna ask some questions about your goals. What have been some of your obstacles? I’m gonna tell you a little bit about what we do, etcetera, etcetera.

And that’s your opportunity to build value. We’ll talk about more than that a moment. And then if I think and then Okay. If I think we’re able to help you, I’ll make a suggestion for what the best paths to move forward would be. Fair enough. And then that’s it. And then that’s the way you said it. And now you’ve not only had a moment to be human with them, but you’re preparing for them for what’s going to happen so that they’re not like wondering where it’s going to happen.

There’s no surprises. Great. Yeah. And that’s this building rapport and expectation setting is so critical because it establishes some trust, which is the foundation of which all the [00:12:00] rest of these sections happen. So moving right into part three, this is the bulk of the conversation. We call this section peeling the onion.

And so what happens this in section three Fisher? So in section three, you have, Oh, I have another goodie. I can maybe give you two or how about this? If you’re in the middle of the podcast and you want this goodie, email me, marketbusinessforunicorns. com. And I have a separate goodie besides the one you can get.

If you DM us on Instagram, which is my list of questions. Cause now you got to ask him. questions. And there’s two kinds of questions. You’re going to ask questions around what do you, what are your wants and what’s been getting in the way. Cause you want to identify, okay, what are the goals? What are the outcomes you’re looking for?

And then you want to also figure out, okay, why hasn’t that happened yet? What are the things that prevented you from already achieving said results? I think as another best practice in there, it’s probably a good idea in most situations to dig in a little bit deeper as to the why behind the goal. Okay.

You want X. Why is that important to you? So again, most of you, depending on how long your session is going to be, [00:13:00] you’re going to want to choose probably, and I’m curious for your thoughts, three to six questions, maybe, and you’re going to mostly listen to what they say and then reflect back what they said to one, make sure that you have it correctly, that you’re really understanding what they want and two, so they feel cared for and seeing, okay, this person’s really taking them to listen to me.

Yes. Okay. Yes, that is what I want. How did you know? It’s just. Yeah. I’ll also say this as a, as for those of you who are doing in person sales conversations or strategy sessions, I actually, if you have the bandwidth time to do this, I like giving them a moment to get their thoughts together before they share it with you.

There are some folks who you get into these conversations with that might feel a little put on the spot by you asking some probing questions about their health and wellness. And so sometimes it’s helpful. If you have the time to let them do a little jotting down of their ideas first before they share it with you, it helps prime the pump and you’ll get a little farther faster.

Yeah, I would note there are even some approaches to this that I think can work. We [00:14:00] don’t tend to recommend it as a usual best practice, but some approaches to this would suggest you actually have them write out some stuff in advance. And I think to be honest, that can be valuable if you’re moving more towards the application kind of situation.

The only thing about that, that I would acknowledge is for most fitness consumers, it’s going to feel like a little bit more of a barrier. It’s like you’re giving them homework per se, but that’s one other way. You can theory, get them to really think about why this matters. And to Kira’s point, not only are you not putting them on the spot, but to some extent, they’re really talking to themselves and the, okay, this actually does matter.

Here’s why this matters to me, but you would just note that not everybody’s going to actually do that in advance. Yeah. And for a little while, MFF, it was just like, they got a clipboard when they first walked in the door. And while they’re waiting a minute or two for their person, they got some water and they got a clipboard and they got to start writing down their answers to questions beforehand.

So it wasn’t even like homework in advance. It was just like, Oh, you’re waiting for a minute to go back to doing that. Fill that out. Yeah. Um, all right. So that’s part three. Peeling the onion, figuring out what are they, what do they want? Why do they want it? What’s getting in their [00:15:00] way? And then part four is what we recently call the education of the future client.

This is connecting what their wants and needs are to what we do. So can you talk a little bit about part four, Fisher? Yeah. So this Exactly how you do this is usually going to look like one of three things broadly. It’s either they’re going to more commonly either get a tour if it’s a physical space while you’re telling them about what you do and here’s the important thing, you’re linking back to we do this thing because it achieves this specific goal in the words you just said.

And, or we do this other specific thing to overcome this specific obstacle that you just mentioned has been getting in the way in the past, right? And we like to, when we work with people in the Unicorn Society, we’ll have them actually list out the things they most commonly hear as goals and obstacles, and then create specific benefits that they already have in their services to really connect.

The circle connect the dots, the things I don’t know to do something to connect their [00:16:00] services to what the person wants and what’s been getting in the way. Now, if you don’t have a physical space or you don’t have an in person tour, a lot of people are still using virtual strategy sessions. And there’s a lot to be said for that.

Certainly if you look at availability being one of the constraints you have to solve for that does usually allow you to offer more availability and them easier to get in. But you won’t be able to give a physical tour. So that’s okay. You still do the same thing, but now you’re essentially still talking through what it is we do.

And I’m going to emphasize this one more time because it’s the whole game. You just keep hammering and centering about the things that they care about. And I’ll give you one other pro tip. Don’t talk about the things they don’t care about. So when we have people fill this out, you might have a list of maybe 12 total goals and obstacles that you commonly hear.

Don’t talk about all the goals and obstacles and all the benefits. Just talk about the things that they actually care about. Now I’ll say briefly, there are some of you. that might sub in during this value building part, either a mini workout [00:17:00] or a performance assessment. If you work in a strength conditioning gym or maybe a functional movement screen, which a lot of gen pop gyms do, but understand in this section, whether you’re having them do something physical or you’re talking through things, you have to keep linking back.

Here’s what you care about. Here’s what’s been getting in the way. Here’s exactly how our services create that outcome and how they solve for those obstacles. Yeah. Fantastic. Yeah. It’s a critical part where we make the leap from, from what they want to, like how they’re going to get it with us. Let’s do this.

In the interest of time, I want to wrap up these final three sections and kind of one conversation because the last two are really admin y. So part five, we call making the prescription where you actually make the sale. Part six is creating a great kind of ending and then part seven is managing all the next steps and backend things.

So can you wrap up those three for us, Fisher? Yep. Yeah. So from here in theory, now you make the sale. Wow. And that starts with you making. The ask. So this is one of those things you actually really have to practice because [00:18:00] commonly what happens is this is where people will really start to word salad and on.

They’re getting nervous and they’re stumbling. So my suggestion is you have to get a very specific set of words that you really are drilled while you’re nervous. You can say, based on your situation, based on everything we’ve talked about, I suggested you do this. Or if you want to do an AB close, maybe it’s like your absolute best option is to do this.

Your other option, if you want some, it’s a little bit of a lower come as do X, which of these do you want to get started with today? And again, depending on the way you structure this, maybe you have taken into account, we recommend taking account things like how many times per week they can work out, try to find out what their budget is.

So you’re not suggesting something that’s. It’s five times more than what realistically they are willing to spend. But that’s basically it. And then you just wait to see what happens now. Certainly if they say no or they say need to think about it or I’m not, or any number of the obstacles that come up, that just means you didn’t build enough value and you’re still a very good person.

[00:19:00] Certainly there is a time and a place to do a couple of rings around the rosies of overcoming some obstacles. But our general point of view is by this point. They should be, you should have screened all that stuff out earlier in the conversation because the other thing to understand is if they say they can work out three times per week and then you get to the end of the conversation and they tell you, I’m not sure if I have time, that is great feedback that you did not do a good job and you’re a good person, but you did not build value.

They just didn’t find you credible. Whatever you said, they’re not buying it because they’re not ready to make a commitment today. Yeah. So I know there’s a few more things, but yeah, anything you would add to that. I think that’s the prescription part. And then from there, the creating a great ending is just really creating clear next steps.

So if they’re converting, what happens next? If they’re not converting, what happens next? And then step seven is really about managing whatever your processes are for following up with those things. And that’ll vary. Tremendously, which is why we’re not spending a ton of time on those in this podcast, but I wanted to make sure we got through all seven.

So you understand that that’s the framework you start with. [00:20:00] And if you go over to Instagram and DM us, let’s say DM us the word sales, we will send you our kind of sales template here for what this script looks like. So you can see how we suggest filling out those seven sections, but you’re going to, again, you have to make them your own.

And practice them to make sure it sounds like you and feels like you and represents your gym. Anything you would say else about this Fisher as we kind of wrap things up here? Yeah. I’ll give you one final pro tip is that people are invariably going to feel a little bit of buyer’s remorse. Anytime they make a big commitment like this, that’s perfectly normal.

Our suggestion is send them a video message within 24 hours of signing up, just so they start to feel a little bit of a. Hangover nervous. Was this a good idea? Oh my gosh, this is for a lot of people. Training gyms are not cheap, right? If they’re spending 200 bucks a month, 300 bucks a month, maybe they sign up for a year.

They’re going to start to feel nervous and you want to show up and remind them of all the benefits they’re going to get all the ways that they’re going to achieve the goals they care about and overcome their [00:21:00] obstacle and assure them how excited you are to be working with them. That’s it. That’s it. If you want that template from us, my friends, if you want that strategy session, sales script, just go over to our Instagram right now and DM us the word sales.

And while you’re over there, come join us in Austin. If you want to come to our Austin retreat, you can also DM us and just ask us for information about the Austin retreat. And we’ll have a conversation to see if we’re the right fit. Um, but this was a great podcast for sure. I think this framework will be useful to a lot of folks.

And I hope a lot of folks take us up on this offer because I think our template here for the sales conversation is pretty bad ass. Awesome. Let’s close it there. Anything else you want to share, Fisher? No. Come say hi to us on Instagram. We’ll see you there. Come say hi. See you on Instagram. Have a kick ass day.

Bye, y’all. Bye.